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Trip Report Hedonism II January 18-25, 2015 #37499
01/31/2015 02:05 PM
01/31/2015 02:05 PM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 1,525
Welland, Ontario, Canada
John Offline OP
Traveler
John  Offline OP
Traveler
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 1,525
Welland, Ontario, Canada
Hedonism II Trip Report January 18-25, 2015

5th trip to Hedo in as many years, our second year with Tom’s Trips. This evolved into a long report so I have categorized it so you can skip through any boring bits!

GETTING THERE
Easiest trip ever getting to Toronto, instead of the usual snow storm it was raining!
WestJet flight left right on time at 10:15 am and touched down in Montego Bay at 2:30...right on schedule. We booked this trip from Sunday to Sunday to avoid the airport congestion and as it turns out we were right. Relatively short line at immigration. On the immigration form they asked what countries you have visited in the previous 6 weeks and we listed the US and Cuba. At the inpection booth we were told because we had been to Cuba we would have to go to the Health Inspection desk to be questioned, and once cleared, do not go to the end of the line, but come directly back to this inspection station. All the Health desk wanted was a home contact back in Canada for us in case we were taken ill (apparently there was a Cholera outbreak in Cuba). Back to the Immigration booth where we were cleared and then to the baggage area where our bags were waiting for us. (We love Montego Bay Airport). Through another checkpoint (Customs) and then to Booth 5 where we received our bus passes and were told the bus was leaving in a few minutes. We were guided out to our bus and asked for our pass...wait a minute, we didn’t get a beer for the trip! I told the driver I would give him the pass if I could go and get two beers...returned in a couple of minutes and we were on our way...there were only 5 of us on the bus. 45 minutes from touchdown to the bus leaving. No one wanted to stop and we arrived at Hedo 1 hour and 15 minutes later...2 hours exactly from touchdown to check in at Hedo!

ARRIVAL AT HEDO
We were booked with Tom’s Trips and went directly to their desk and were greeted by Terry and Terry who gave us our welcome packages. Mr. Terry became involved in a discussion with a Hedo Manager (with a clip board) and called us over. Apparently they were overbooked and our Ocean View Regular room was not ready and would we mind taking an Ocean View Nude Hot Tub room until tomorrow (this could have been way, way worse), to which we readily agreed. We were asked not to unpack and come to the desk tomorrow at noon and we would be assigned the room category we originally booked. The next day at noon I went to the desk and found the Hedo Manager with the clip board. She went over whatever was on her board and asked if we would mind staying in our current room until Wednesday...no problem mon! She said she would call us at 11 am on Wednesday with our new room assignment. Great, we can unpack, it’s hard to live out of a suitcase! Wednesday at 11:30 the phone rang (after we had all our stuff packed up)...nobody on the other end...then I heard hello, I replied and heard no reply, repeat, repeat again. I then assumed the phone was faulty and went up to the front desk to double-check. I met the Hedo Manager with the clip board and after studying it for a few moments she said she might as well leave us in the room we were in (2122)...Bonus, upgraded for the week! Back to the room to unpack...again! Despite the few blips and trips to the front desk we were delighted, things like this usually don’t happen for us. We really enjoyed the hot tub and the walk-out to the beach.

PROBLEMS?
Everything in our room seemed to be working just fine, except on Monday the hairdryer blew, we informed the front desk and a temporary one was installed by the time we returned from the beach. The next day a new hairdryer was installed.

OBVIOUSLY THE RESORT WAS FULL!
On our first walk down the beach to the nude pool we were surprised at the number of people there, it was lounger beside lounger all the way from our room (by the Lion statue) and right around to the rock point. There was not a vacant one to be had. We have never seen it so crowded. We decided then and there because we were so close to the nude pool that we wouldn’t even bother looking for one and just bring our towels and a back pack with what we would need for the day and leave it on the bench by the hot tub. Even the cubby holes were filled for the whole week...with what appeared to be the same stuff. During the afternoon most of the loungers were unoccuupied but “reserved” and many had blue floats on them...come on people...it’s Hedo...share!
We did hear later that the resort was over-booked by 30 rooms. Apparently they count on a certain percentage of cancellations, however, this year there were few cancellations.

FOOD
The standard of food in the dining room we thought was the same as last year, which was very good, with the usual variety. We like lunch at the nude beach grill, the down side is that it can be like watching paint dry waiting for your order, on the other hand, you can get into some entertaining conversations with other guests while waiting. I love the Jamaican meat pies, especially the chicken.
This year Herladyship decided she would try the Japanese restaurant (after trying one here at home and learning she did not have to eat a raw fish). We were seated with 3 other couples who we had not met before and had a great time. The food was very good and the chef was extremely entertaining, all the while managing not to remove any of his digits with the cleaver! We made our usual visit to Martino’s/Pastafari on our last night and again thoroughly enjoyed it, one of our favourite quiet times!

RESORT IMPROVEMENTS
We have read about the imporvements to the resort here on the board and even saw photos but there is nothing like being there and seeing it for yourself. The wine store and the coffee bar look very nice and modern although we did not go in. The Piano Bar is much larger with the walls taken out (although still very loud). The new courtyard is a great improvement with the astro turf and new seating and lighting (I can understand why they do not want anyone smoking there). The free wifi is a definite bonus if you need to be in contact with home...we just bring our ipads to breakfast. The boutique is very well stocked if you forget any of the basic supplies at home, or costumes, or toys ;-) The umbrellas on the beach are also a great improvement...if you can get a chair!
The best improvement IMHO are the washrooms. The nude pool washrooms are completely modernized. The Men’s (my branch office) in particular is much more “user friendly” with plenty of room and 4 stations. In the old one it was so tight that I have seen guys clinging to the wall like Spiderman in order to let another guy through (to avoid contact of course). The washroom by the Piano Bar is similarly upgraded with one difference...to use the urinal you have to be: a) 6 foot 4; b) extremely well-endowed, or; c) have the necessary accuracy and pressure to reach. Having none of the aforementioned I chose the sit down version!

MAINTENANCE
The resort is being constantly maintained with crews trimming and watering, raking the beach, painting, etc. We also noticed that when a room was vacated a crew would remove the air conditioning unit and clean it. Our room was not a premium room so was just like the others but was clean and functional. The hot tub was emptied and cleaned mid week.

ILLNESS
This year many of the people we knew came down with a cough and raspy throat, although otherwise felt OK. In speaking with a lady outside the disco one night she described it as “Hedo Kennel Cough”. The strange thing is, it was only women who came down with this. One of our close friends missed the last full day due to illness and stayed in the room, when she returned home found out she had bronchitis

THEMES AND ENTERTAINMENT
We did participate in some of the theme nights although we found that not a lot of people participated. We were really looking forward to Toga night and thought it would be a great revival but we found participation really low, probably about 10% of the people in the dining room participated, however we did see more togas later on. We went to the disco for the foam party, however, they were having trouble with the foam machine. We left after about a half hour. We did speak with some people the next day who went and they said they were only able to make the foam about knee high.
The costume contests after dinner did not have a lot of participants, even though they have them directly after dinner as opposed to after the show as is previous years. Some people do not like to get on stage as you never know what you will be asked to do and also the winner is chosen by applause so the person with the most friends there usually wins.

We always enjoy the after dinner shows, especially when Peter Lloyd entertains and of course Winston and Ashley. and the Roots Explosion band. A couple of the shows were not quite the standard of previous years, however, we understand some of the entertainers are relatively new.

The happy hours at the nude pool are always a favourite of ours, particularly when Mark Maze DJs. The volume was reduced this year so you could actually talk to someone...a big improvement. The ECs also did a great job of running games, contests and even a fashion show poolside. Those people work really hard from morning til night and are very talented!

Herladyship always enjoys sitting down and talking to Winston and this year she had the opportunity again, a very interesting guy and very open and friendly (I wonder if he noticed how many Irish whiskies she had, lol). We also had breakfast with Mark Maze one morning and found him very interesting to talk to...that guy really loves his job, and it shows.

OFF RESORT
Each year we make an effort to get off the resort, even just for a few hours to get some of the local flavour. Last year we went on a private pub crawl with another couple. This year the other couple arranged for another pub crawl but this time there was nine of us. I will say right off the start that I was not feeling 100% as I had been in a long conversation with “Mr. Appleton” the night before and even food was not particularly appealing. I decided I would stick to nice safe beer. The driver, Jimmy, took us up into the hills above Negril and stopped at a pub which was large by Jamaican standards (can’t remember the name of it) and had two pool tables and even slot machines. Someone in our group offered to buy the first round (which made it much easier for the bartenders). Herladyship (who may also have been suffering a bit) had a Red Stripe Light and I had a Red Stripe regular. As I was choking down the first beer...it was like drinking a glass of pork fat with a hair in it...I noticed a hand painted sign on the wall “No Ganja Smoking Inside”. The great thing about these pubs is that you get into conversations with the local people who were all genuinely friendly and great characters. At the subsequent pubs we took turns buying rounds (for the ease of the bartenders of course). Oddly, in the pubs the drink orders were all calculated by hand...no electronics in sight. We took in 5 pubs, by the third one I was feeling quite better actually. The ones I recall are Judy’s, Colette’s and the Red Dragon, where there was a mix of locals and visitors, apparently a famous Negril pub. Back to Hedo and the nude pool and hot tub.

THE RULES
This is my one pet peeve. If there is going to be a rule, enforce it...consistently.
No smoking in the pool or hot tub or around the bar...then why was a guy smoking a cigar in both places and nothing was done about it? The pda rule, as we understood it, was no pda on the beach in front of the bar, but one well-known couple was “having it off” standing in front of the bar, although I admired their athletic ability to do so, was it not against the rules? Security was oblivious to it. One night a group of us went down to the nude side grill for pizza at 1 am. While we were waiting for our pizza a security lady reminded us this was the nude side and we had to be nude...no problem, we just slipped off whatever we had on and ate our pizza. Seemed kind of silly though as no one but our group was there. The next day people were in the same area with wraps and bathing suits and nothing was said.

SLIPPERY WHEN WET!
Use caution on the concrete pool deck. One late afternoon while sitting in the hot tub, we heard a sound that resembled a coconut landing on concrete. When we looked toward the sound a man had slipped on the pool deck beside the hot tub bench and landed on the back of his head. He received immediate attention and was able to walk away a short time later, but received a gash on the back of his head. The concrete deck really needs a serious non-slip coating. We will never forget that sound!

WEATHER
The weather was perfect, sunny every day and only once did it rain, but it was so light and only for a few minutes that we hardly noticed, didn’t even have to run to the hot tub!

FRIENDS
I mention no names here to protect the guilty, except for foxxyandhound who we have known for the past few years. We also knew about 4 other couples who met two years ago, one of these couples have become our close friends and we visit with back and forth here at home many times during the year. With going the same time every year there were a lot people we recognized from previous trips and actually got to know some of them this time. Of course there are always the people you don’t know and just strike up a conversation with. Hedo provides the venue, but as is always said “the best part is the people”.

RETURN TO REALITY
On our return to reality we were sitting on the full shuttle bus when a Lady from Hedo came on the bus and asked everyone on the bus what improvements the resort could make. As we replied she dutifully wrote down all the suggestions. Mine was the slippery pool deck and Herladyship suggested a clock in the nude pool area so it would be easier to attend activities.

Arrived at the airport and went right up to the WestJet desk to check our bags, no line whatsoever. We did the right thing booking Sunday! Flight home left on time and actually arrived in Toronto a half hour early.

NOTE: Before we left Hedo we booked with Tom’s Trips for January 2016...helps with the DIF knowing you have solid plans to return.

A la prochaine...

John and Toddy <img src="http://www.traveltalkonline.com/forums/images/graemlins/Cheers.gif" alt="" />


[color:"red"]May you always have sand in your shoes...and a dollar in your pocket! [/color]
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Re: Trip Report Hedonism II January 18-25, 2015 [Re: John] #37500
02/01/2015 03:30 PM
02/01/2015 03:30 PM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 65,810
Central Florida!
Carol_Hill Offline
Traveler
Carol_Hill  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 65,810
Central Florida!
Thanks for posting the report. Good for you, on the room upgrade!


Carol Hill
Re: Trip Report Hedonism II January 18-25, 2015 [Re: Carol_Hill] #37501
02/02/2015 10:11 AM
02/02/2015 10:11 AM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 1,525
Welland, Ontario, Canada
John Offline OP
Traveler
John  Offline OP
Traveler
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 1,525
Welland, Ontario, Canada
Thanks Carol, upgrades have never happened for us, but at least now it has happened once! <img src="http://www.traveltalkonline.com/forums/images/graemlins/Joy.gif" alt="" />

John <img src="http://www.traveltalkonline.com/forums/images/graemlins/Cheers.gif" alt="" />


[color:"red"]May you always have sand in your shoes...and a dollar in your pocket! [/color]

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